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The First Casualty - Ben Elton

The First Casualty - Ben Elton
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The First Casualty - Ben Elton


The First Casualty (2005) is a historical crime novel by English author Ben Elton, set during the First World War.

In June 1917, whilst recovering from shell shock inside a military hospital, beloved war poet and dedicated soldier Viscount Abercrombie is inexplicably shot dead. Meanwhile, Douglas Kingsley, a liberal Inspector for Scotland Yard, has refused national service because he considers the war to be an affront to his highly prized sense of logic. As a result, he's hauled before a judge, branded a coward by those who love him - including his wife Agnes - and thrown into prison, where his fellow inmates routinely assault him, taking revenge for him putting them behind bars in the first place. However, the Home Office give the disgraced copper a chance for redemption when they abduct him from his cell, fake his death and order him to investigate the Viscount's death behind the lines at Flanders.

As he begins his reluctant inquiries, encumbered by the presence of his psychopathic minder Captain Shannon, Kingsley discovers that not only was Abercrombie a homosexual, but that he had also become disillusioned with the war and was composing poetry to this effect before his untimely death.

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